Posts in category Tech Buzz


Tech Buzz

Gadget Ogling: Show and Tell, Fidget Folly, and Connected Nightlights

The Echo Show is the first in Amazon’s line of smart speakers to incorporate a screen, and it seems very much more “speaker with a display” than “tablet with better audio and microphones.” It has all the functionality of Echo, including access to Alexa, Amazon’s voice-operated assistant. The screen can, for example, provide a more detailed weather outlook than what Alexa spouts out.

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Tech Buzz

Could Tech Nerf North Korea?

When a hostile country regularly lobs missiles into the ocean with the stated objective of transforming a U.S. state into a radioactive cloud, we have a problem. One “oops” and we could suddenly become a 49-state nation again. Approaches to North Korea tend to be in-the-box thinking, but there are new technologies that effectively could neutralize the threat it poses.

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Tech Buzz

The United States of Amazon

Amazon’s significant expansion into yet another market — this time, grocery stores — dominated many of my conversations last week. Clearly, Amazon warned us. I’ve been here before — back in the 1990s, when Amazon was just books, I was running the company’s e-commerce unit. I got into an argument with one of the analysts focused on Amazon, who believed the company wouldn’t go beyond books.

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Tech Buzz

Apple Centers Health Data Strategy on iPhone

Apple quietly has been strategizing to expand its growing healthcare business to include the management of digital health records, with the iPhone operating as a central data hub. Apple reportedly has been in talks with numerous health industry groups that are involved in setting standards for the storage and sharing of electronic medical records, in a way that would give consumers more control.

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Tech Buzz

The Art of Manipulation and Misdirection

Last week, I listened to an economist talk about Apple’s complaints that Qualcomm had charged Apple too much for access to patents. What was fascinating was that Apple had folks focused on the 5 percent Qualcomm had charged it instead of on the massive profit that Apple made on each phone. The price of the iPhone 8 likely will be well over $1,000 — but it could cost well under $500 to build.

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Tech Buzz

Cook Gives Up a Few Crumbs of Apple Auto Info

News about Apple’s plans for the automotive market have been dripping slowly from the company for months, and CEO Tim Cook this week released a few more drops from the faucet. Apple’s auto efforts are zeroing in on autonomous systems, he said. Self-driving is a core technology that Apple considers very important to its auto plans, but it’s very challenging from an AI perspective, Cook noted.

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Tech Buzz

Gadget Ogling: Apple at Home

The battle for your home just got a little more intense as Apple pulled back the curtain on HomePod, its smart speaker that seeks to hold dominion over your home empire and all the gadgets that reside within. HomePod holds a 4-inch woofer and seven tweeters, and it has six microphones to pick up your voice commands for Siri, wherever you happen to be in the room.

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Tech Buzz

Hearing Crickets at Apple’s WWDC and a Pin Drop in the Senate

The two mammoth events last week were the Apple WWDC keynote and ex-FBI chief James Comey’s appearance at a Senate committee hearing. Now I’m sure a lot of folks didn’t have the time to watch both events — and particularly for the Comey event, I’m sure the coverage has the right and the left believing very different realities. Apple is becoming more and more like a typical tech firm.

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Tech Buzz

Will Future Autonomous Cars Fly Like Birds or Tunnel Like Moles?

It is kind of amazing how much advancement is going on in the autonomous car space. A year ago, we were mostly talking about cars that seemed comparatively boring, because they just drove on the surface. How quaint — how 2016. Now when we mention “boring,” we may be talking about Elon Musk’s new underground tunneling idea. However, a little company called “Airbus” disagrees.

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Tech Buzz

Dell’s ‘Alice’ Will Guide Women Through VC Wonderland

One of the interesting things at Dell EMC World came from Karen Quintos, the most powerful woman at Dell. Karen is responsible for its Entrepreneur in Residence program, which focuses on equipping and helping woman entrepreneurs. Dell Technologies apparently has created “Alice,” a female-focused artificial intelligence focused on helping support and drive innovative firms backed by women.

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Tech Buzz

Gadget Ogling: Amazon Gives Fashion Advice, Snacks Get Musical, and Coffee Tables Get Smart

Amazon’s Echo system, which brought the company’s Alexa assistant to tables and countertops as a hub for your home, now has evolved into something a little more visually minded. I don’t mean the brand new Echo Show — it’s the Echo Look that has caught my eye. The Echo Look has a built-in camera that captures both audio and video. Amazon wants you to use it to help you choose your outfits.

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Tech Buzz

What People Don’t Get About Tesla

Tesla is like Apple in that it represents a revolution in thinking. Although everyone seems to focus on the electric power plant, that is really a small part of the Tesla revolution. If Musk were to launch an almost-identical company but with gas engines, it would cut through the market like a hot knife through butter. The electric part isn’t as much a sales accelerant as it is an impediment.

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Tech Buzz

Apple May Be Getting Its Innovation Groove Back

Apple reportedly has begun testing a premium iPhone with a revamped display and body, which could be one of three new models the company is expected to launch this fall. The other two likely will be upgrades to the two existing iPhones. The new design will incorporate curved glass and stainless steel. It will increase the surface area of the display without increasing the size of the phone.

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Tech Buzz

Why Is It OK to Abuse Customers?

I don’t know about you but I can’t seem to get out of my head the image of that poor Asian doctor who, seemingly unconscious, was dragged off that United flight. The fact that the airline did that to a 69-year-old doctor just so it could save money moving employees around is nearly as unbelievable as the initial tone-deaf response from United’s CEO, who blamed the passenger.

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Tech Buzz

Apple May Transform Diabetes Care and Treatment: Report

Apple is working on a secret project to develop wearable devices that can monitor the blood sugar of diabetics without using invasive finger sticks, according to a report. Apple has assembled a team of biomedical engineers from various companies to work on the project. Glucose monitoring traditionally has required that diabetics use lancets to pierce their fingertips at least four times daily.

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Tech Buzz

Why VR Is Failing

As a market, we seem to have trouble learning that three key elements are necessary for a new technology to take hold: It has to appear complete, it has to be compelling, and it has to seem like a value — that is, be affordable. Compared to what we have today, the car that opened up the automotive market in the U.S. was none of those things — yet it was incredibly successful.

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